Viewing cable 03ABUDHABI1669
Title: HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT CD-ROM RECALL CREATES

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
03ABUDHABI16692003-04-07 14:32:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Abu Dhabi
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Diana T Fritz  05/24/2007 04:35:34 PM  From  DB/Inbox:  Search Results

Cable 
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CONFIDENTIAL

SIPDIS
TELEGRAM                                           April 07, 2003


To:       No Action Addressee                                    

Action:   Unknown                                                

From:     AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI (ABU DHABI 1669 - UNKNOWN)         

TAGS:     PHUM, PREL, PGOV, ELAB, KSEP                           

Captions: None                                                   

Subject:  HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT CD-ROM RECALL CREATES MINOR        
          CONTRETEMPS IN THE UAE                                 

Ref:      None                                                   
_________________________________________________________________
C O N F I D E N T I A L        ABU DHABI 01669

SIPDIS
CXABU:
    ACTION: POL 
    INFO:   AMB RSO DCM P/M ECON 

DISSEMINATION: POL
CHARGE: PROG

APPROVED: AMB: MWAHBA
DRAFTED: POL: MMENARD
CLEARED: DCM: RALBRIGHT; POL: SWILLIAMS; PAO: KVANDEVATE

VZCZCADI127
OO RUEHC RUEHZM RUEHTV RUEHJM RUEHDE
DE RUEHAD #1669/01 0971432
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 071432Z APR 03
FM AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9300
INFO RUEHZM/GCC COLLECTIVE
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 0420
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM 0068
RUEHDE/AMCONSUL DUBAI 3011
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ABU DHABI 001669 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR NEA, NEA/P FOR ACASPAR, NEA/ARP, NEA/RA, 
DRL/CRA AND DRL/PHD 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/06/08 
TAGS: PHUM PREL PGOV ELAB KEM KSEP TC
SUBJECT: HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT CD-ROM RECALL CREATES 
MINOR CONTRETEMPS IN THE UAE 
 
¶1.  (U) Classified by Ambassador Marcelle M. Wahba for 
reasons 1.5 (b) and (d). 
 
¶2.  (C) SUMMARY: The recall of CD-ROMs containing a 
draft Human Rights Report on the Occupied Territories 
caused a flurry of activity in the UAE.  After reading 
an Arabic-language newspaper article that implied 
misleadingly that all negative language had been 
withdrawn from the Occupied Territories' Report, 
MinInfo Shaykh Abdullah Bin Zayid called the 
Ambassador on 3 April to complain about the USG's 
actions, commenting "if this press report is true, we 
might as well all throw our human rights reports in 
the garbage."  After Emboffs coordinated with 
Consulate Jerusalem and the Department, the Ambassador 
contacted Abdullah to advise him that the "Al Khaleej" 
press report was inaccurate.  She explained that a 
draft version of the Human Rights Report on the 
Occupied Territories had been released on CD-ROM in 
error and subsequently had to be recalled.  She also 
noted that the correct Occupied Territories' Report 
had been published on the Department's website.  END 
SUMMARY. 
 
¶3.  (C) On Thursday 3 April, Minister of Information 
Shaykh Abdullah Bin Zayid called the Ambassador to 
register concern regarding press reports of the 
Department's recall of CD-ROMs containing the 2002 
Country Reports on Human Rights.  Abdullah had read a 
front-page article in the local Arabic-language daily 
"Al Khaleej" headlined "Washington Withdraws Documents 
In Which It Criticizes Israel's Violations," which 
implied that the Department had withdrawn all negative 
language from the Human Rights Report on the Occupied 
Territories.  Abdullah told the Ambassador:  "If this 
press report is true, we might as well all throw our 
human rights reports in the garbage."  The Ambassador 
undertook to respond back with full information. 
 
¶4.  (C) After Emboffs coordinated with Consulate 
Jerusalem and the Department, the Ambassador contacted 
Abdullah to advise him that the "Al Khaleej" press 
report was misleading and inaccurate.  She explained 
that a draft version of the Occupied Territories' 
Report had been released on CD-ROM in error and 
subsequently had to be recalled.  She also noted that 
the correct Human Rights Report on the Occupied 
Territories had been published on the Department's 
website. 
 
¶5.  (C) Armed with the full AFP story -- the source of 
the "Al Khaleej" article -- and the Department's press 
guidance, PAO followed up on the matter by contacting 
the "Al Khaleej" editor to protest the misleading 
article.  As expected, the editor did not concede that 
the published article reported less than the full 
story, claiming that he had "just reported the AFP 
wire story."  However, he offered to publish a 
clarification to rectify the paper's misreporting, and 
said that he would publish whatever post requested. 
Post drafted a short statement and submitted it to 
NEA/P, but was unable to obtain clearance in time for 
publication the next day. 
 
¶6.  (U) The "Al Khaleej" article, which editorialized 
on selected information from the AFP article, read: 
 
Headline:  "Washington Withdraws Documents In Which It 
Criticizes Israel's Violations" 
 
Text:  "The U.S. gave a new indication of its total 
bias to the entity [Israel] after it withdrew all the 
CD-ROMs which contained annual US Human Rights Reports 
because of what it described as a printing error which 
led to 'accusing' 'Israel' of committing human rights 
violations....The State Department announced that it 
had withdrawn the CD-ROMs containing the Report after 
it noticed that some Arab newspapers had published 
summaries of its human rights report containing 
excerpts from the rough draft of the chapter on Israel 
'not in its final form'.  An American official said 
'this error was unintentional and there was no bad 
intention in it.'  In the version of the report on the 
CD-ROMs it says that Israel's 'respect' for human 
rights in the Occupied Territories is still poor and 
the situation worsened in many areas as 'Israel' 
continued to commit numerous serious human rights 
abuses.  The final version of the report for 2002 is 
found on the website of the State Department on the 
Internet." 
¶7.  (U) Interestingly, the local English-language 
daily "Gulf Today," sister paper to "Al Khaleej," ran 
the full AFP report in its entirety and more or less 
verbatim, although under the headline "US Revises 
Rights Report to Appease Israel."  The "Gulf Today" 
article noted that despite changes in the language 
between the draft "Israel" report on the CD-ROM and 
the final and correct "Israel" report posted on the 
Department's website, both versions of the report 
catalogued a number of Israeli human rights abuses. 
The article also noted that the final official report 
stated that "Israel's overall human rights record in 
the Occupied Territories remained poor, and worsened 
in several areas as it continued to commit serious 
human rights abuses." 
 
¶8.  (C) COMMENT:  The quick media and official 
reaction to the Department's recall of the CD-ROMs 
demonstrates the political sensitivity here to USG 
actions regarding Israel, which is particularly 
heightened at this time because of the Iraq war and 
continued violence in the territories.  Fortunately, 
Abdullah had read the UAE Report and commended it to 
the Ambassador, noting that he agreed with 99 % of its 
contents.  The "Al Khaleej" editor's willingness to 
engage in the current hostile media climate is 
noteworthy, and Post will follow up on this matter in 
a telephone interview between Deputy Secretary 
Armitage and "Al-Khaleej" later this week.  Scheduled 
to discuss a wide range of issues, this forum will 
provide us with an excellent opportunity to reaffirm 
the objectivity of the human rights reports, including 
the Human Rights Report on the Occupied Territories. 
END COMMENT. 
 
WAHBA